What would Margaret do?



The titular dame is the great creator: Margaret Atwood.

I have recently read one of her earlier books and her imagination inspired me to a burst of activity.

I am working on a new collection focusing on current social themes. And whilst I have been prolific in the creative process I have kept having doubts about my lack of on-line activity.

It is 10 months since I posted on this blog.

I feel ashamed.

There is no clear reason for this. But as a human being I suffer from the same nonsensical emotional grief we all do. Constantly feeling I haven’t done my best.

Oh social media!

I love and hate you in equal measure,

You are my shackles and hold my treasure.

Back to Margaret – what would she do if she felt blogged-out? If she had the writing blues?

Oh, hell – she’d just get over it!



Keep your enemies close






Watch the Rain (what writers do when not writing)


I was camped out in the dining room, plugged in and tapping away on my laptop. I’d turned the radio off (unusually – I love loud music when I am writing). I think it’s the beats and rhythm that somehow match the rhythm of words. And if I am in ‘zone mode’ I will go faster when the music does!

But it was a different kind of writing day. Quiet. Reflective. I am picking at that unfinished work that I could have published maybe a year ago but just isn’t quite right yet. Not that I was having a non-productive day –  4 poems, some new ideas, a prose piece about life’s journey and a strange idea of a non-fiction work (I don’t do non-fiction).

Some days it’s the ‘wrong kind of writing’. That’s an oxymoron because there’s never ‘wrong writing’ but I wasn’t where I wanted to be. I want to start my next novel, or more precisely I want to finish it! Of course, I have to decide which story that is and start it (that’s a small issue, obv; they’re all in my head anyway, somewhere…).

Yet the day wasn’t working out as I wanted. It happens. It happens to everyone. I’d broken a plate earlier which I certainly didn’t want to do. And I had a small annoying headache that I was ignoring (mostly). The day felt like the tailing end of an annoying tangled chain. One that you keep trying to unpick but give up on too soon; then ignore for weeks but feel drawn back to [it could be a pile of papers/bills or a folder of emails, the spare room – – – you get it! 😉 ]

And, it was raining. Continue reading

My week, as it was /snowmen, snakes & sheep


It is Christmas which for me means lists. More than normal.

I write lists for gifts, cards, food, events, and then re-write them all in some form of order that only I can decipher. Oh yes, there’s coded versions too – you never know who might see!

SATURDAY was a full-on day. One of those where you don’t stop and cram lots in, opposite to those delicious lazy days when it takes all your energy to get up to make a cuppa. well, I have those days, often… it’s part of being a writer, the lull before the sudden outbursts of non-stop (please make it stop!) creative outpourings – ahhh and relax.

So, after my part-time job I rushed off to pick up The Cake. Not an ordinary cake but a special 3D Olaf cake for my niece’s birthday. Then, safely deposited CAKE at home and managing to watch a few minutes of the classic It’s a Wonderful Life [just said to the TV “George kiss her” when husband’s voice bellows: come on, get ready!

We had a Night Out – yeah! Hit the town where we delighted in our local indie bars: british lager, Japanese lager, cotton-candy cocktails!

Sunday crept in (no hangover) and it was off to the birthday party with Cake. The 4 hours felt like 8, with excited children & even more excited adults! We even had a Winter Wonderland scene with an Olaf for picture/selfie opportunities.

Home to sit still and watch the wonderful, classic, Jungle Book – signing along… “bear necessities” & “King of the swingers” = JOY!!

Monday was the Final Xmas shopping expedition. Except my sister and I had more fun taste-testing everything on offer: Yorkshire Gin? Yes please! Processo? Oh, go on then. Local hand-made traditional fudge? If we must

  • so I still have a few gifts to get but almost done and even written a few cards too!

The ending was putting up decorations and going to get our tree. It’s called ALFRED. He has a bushy bottom and a skinny top – ’nuff said 🙂


….. and to cap off my busy, crazy week – I finished my next ebook collection: City of Animals which is full of odd tales, weird poems: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0196W3Y46  ~ spiders, dogs/cats, a mouse, a gerbil, foxes, birds; even a rhino. Try it!


Or if you begrudge spending $ £ – try my book: 3 Christmases [short alternative tales for the season] – FREE all weekend.


Lizzie HW

PS: Olaf = snowmen (more than 1); snakes from Jungle Book ad sheep – well you’ll have to buy the book 😉

PPS – please ignore any random links – must be the Elves!




My (belated) weeks, as it were…


Wondering where I’ve been?


Austin         Nashville     Memphis     Tuscaloosa   New Orleans


 I’ve returned from a mega – over 2000 miles – trip round the States.


It went a bit like this…



  1. First State: Illinios. A brief stop as we landed at Chicago O’Hare. Outside was sunny, autumnal but no time to even take a whiff of air! Less than 2 hours to collect cases, re-check them and get to next Terminal for 2nd flight. Rush Hours -2.
  2. AUSTIN. This small town in Texas was our destination because we had tickets for the F1 – that’s formula one racing. My first live race too. Austin is WEIRD. And that is no insult, ask anyone from there – it’s their crazy slogan: keepin’ it weird! Though it has a great vibe around 6th Street with live music that never seems to stop. We met great people there. Unfortunately PATRICIA was heading our way too (the hurricane that caused terrible damage & deaths in Mexico). It was a dampner, a big one! We got wet, cold, muddy – nothing tooo serious.
  3. Next we hit the road for a long drive towards Tennessee. Crossing through Texas, we stopped in Dallas (briefly to see the infamous ‘grassy knoll’) then on through Arkansas. We spent the evening in GREENVILLE. A brief stop but the hotel was lovely and we got a good deal 😉
  4. Onwards! Day 5 took us over the Mississippi into Memphis. 2 days to soak up the rock n’roll. Gracelands is cool. Even if you are not a mega Elvis fan, there’s plenty to see and I guarantee you will find something you like! Carpet on the walls? Gold plated car interiors? Customised airplanes? 24/7 songs? YES and yes and yes!!! Evening on Beale Street – more music & mayhem…
  5. A quick visit to Sun Studios and we’re off again. A shorter journey this time, to Nashville. We go direct to the Ole Opray and I buy my husband a decent cowboy style hat. That evening we stay by the hotel but find plenty going on in a small strip of bars/diners. Next morning we head to Ryman and I loved it! A walk around the streets, taking in the sights then off to grab lunch before we drive off again.
  6. We see that the next break is likely to be mid Alabama. Doing surfing we pick Tuscaloosa. Only for it’s relative distance, it’s got lakes – why not! Just one night but we entertained the locals in Hooters! They seemed mystified as to why we chose their little town. But it was a hoot (sorry).
  7. And onto – downtown New Orleans. We caught up with the rains again and my brolly was battered but you can’t stay in in New Orleans on Halloween. Crazy – mad – wild – gory and WTF?! is that….
  8. The aftermath: NO looked bedraggled with many Party People still out! So we chose a TV day, watching the next F1 race. Trying to recover and going ‘oh hell!’ and giving in to day 2 of the beer. Watching the locals win at football – hey now!
  9. And finally: The proper tourist stuff: museum, historic houses, Frenchman quarter, voodoo shops, a peek at the cemetery (too scared to go in!).  Best breakfast at Déjà Vu (cool place).
  10. Beer o’clock? Hmm – yes.
  11. Tiredsville – I am there… The last push… a long drive back west to Austin. But the scenery was different at least: swamps, actual houses, an incredible river crossing (the bridge stretched over a mile) and the highest bridge! And the big ranches….
  12. Last stop – too tired but drag ourselves out. I choose not to shower as I know if I pause I will sleep ZZZZZzzz. Headed down to 6th Street again and to the fabulous: World of Weird (so me)… loved it. Small but quirky museum/attraction. Got a signed poster.
  13. We made it made to Fado the Irish bar to find the quiz in full play. I find it impossible Not to join in…. we had a good go, managed an 8/8 round then a dismall 2/8 and gave up when questions became local knowledge and US sports… eh? Last meal: fish & chips for me (yum) and then dragged outside to get a cab. Exhausted!!
  14. Morning was bright but we had to leave….

Gosh did I really do all that? In 2 weeks….

If you ever want to do a big road trip – go for it! And it can be a budget version too. I met a woman, travelling alone who used buses/trains and free shuttles to get around and she was on a similar route to us.



Lizzie HW

Where have I been hiding?


Well nowhere really, just busy in real life mode!

I checked my drafts and found lots of great ideas never posted – oops!

Here’s an update:

In October I got married. Well according to Facebook I did as my funny husband finally altered his ‘status’ and lots of friends congratulated us thinking we’d only just made it official. Possibly confused by the appearance of my new wedding ring.

Just shows virtuality is not real… 😉


What else?

I spent hours updating my Business Plan. I remind myself (as per all the well written business books) that it is MY PLAN and should be used primarily by me, for me. But it does feel like a chore sometimes. I promise to keep updating it even though it makes me feel a bit sick…



And now???

It is Christmas Season so between writing, cleaning (or pretending that I have…. sniggering, fingers-crossed when I say “yes I did vac the house”) – making endless lists (of what to buy, where, for whom, what to eat, when to eat -~~~ arghhhh!) … I have actually written & delivered a few cards and wrapped up 90% of the gifts I am giving out and all before 1st December. Wow!


The slight downside is the lack of attention to my blog and on-line Pretender. Hey Ho…

so I promise to you lovely people who do read my ramblings – I will do more in the next few weeks. See this is my pre-end-of-the-year Resolution. And I have made a short list of things I would like to complete before 2015 vanishes into the gloomy mid-winter.


Try it! Do a list of say 6 things you want to do before midnight on 31st December 2015. Make it realistic. Tackle those niggles you’ve been ignoring all year: washing behind the fridge, clearing out that cupboard, taking the dog for a really decent walk, taking yourself out for a decent walk, and so on. I will keep you posted with mine:

  1. get on-line regularly (posting at least 4 times a week)
  2. publish the next eBook [Colours of a Rainbow]
  3. steam-clean the windows, sofa & wash the carpet
  4. put those items away (lingering from my holiday)
  5. make bread [any kind]
  6. go to the sea-side

So, if I stick to it, there will be a post tomorrow (the one about my holiday is almost ready….)

Lizzie HW




Marley’s Ghost


I’ve been away but now I’m back!  Here’s a new story…

I need to write.

I feel the urge rising, a force upon my whole being.

I never had writer block. Always the words came, fluent, rushing.

It is not too late! And I am looking for space, blank, clear; anywhere. I am surrounded by the debris of my life: an idea across the edges of the cereal box, a line water scrabbling over rocks – hands grasping for… creeps over a soiled napkin, more scattered about. There is no space!

And I am on the step-ladders, marker pen in hand, gripped tight. Letters stumble from the solid black tip, bursting onto the wall. I have no concepts of time of day or necessities for food, water or bodily functions – I write.

Hours passed.

The wall is coloured in patterns of letters, columns and boxes; circled and squared off so characters and concepts remain connected. Lines and arrows reach to join isolated sentences. It could be art! An installation in a gallery – inside the writer’s mind… I smile. But work must MUST continue. There is too little time and I feel the dark ebbing closer.

I wake suddenly as if from a deep, deep dream. I grasp at the recorder on the chair’s arm but the images fade too quickly to be caught. Once – I would never lose that game. I am tired.

The TV is on. My constant friend, my informant, my only lover. I blink at it and we understand each other. I raise unsteadily and seek sustenance; my arms feel too heavy, disconnected.

I look curiously at my left hand. It is gripped like a claw. I remember the wall. Frantic writing, hours and hours. My hand is cramped and my elbow is bent. The pain burns as I try to move my arm/hand. I relent. In the kitchen I find a tea-towel and make a sling. It pleases me, I never broke a limb, never went to a hospital. My worn writer’s arm rests against my chest like a baby and I look upon it fondly. We shared greatness, once upon a time.

I think of my books and have an urgent desire to see them.

My bedroom is the library I could never afford to build. Agents promised wealth: millionaire was the word. It wasn’t. My books are unsold, rejected.

I look at the dusted boxes, I cannot bear to touch them and I close the door again with blurred eyes.

My friend soothes me: old songs play over footage of the moon-base and the cosmos I dreamed of but never reached.

My head feels light. There is a moment of panic; where did everything go? I slip to another place…

“So what do you have for us Kalhi?”

I hear the question and strain to hear the answer as my eyes slowly focus on the screen. It’s an old, old show. Again my companion brings me comfort with familiar history.

“It’s a book” says a scrappy girl. She looks nervous, tired and she grips the edges of her item tightly. I see the hope in her. She wants good news, she needs it. There is a darkness around her – a troubled past. She glances at me (the camera) and looks directly at me…

“… not worth very much. Yet interesting and maybe there is a collector but” the Expert shook his head. The camera switched from the girl’s face to the item, the book. The page displayed was an inscription. My heart jolted and griped. My left hand suddenly released and I reach forward – too late.

The page fills the screen:

The Jellyfish Who Travelled to the Moon and changed Everything


                                                           JC Marley


 [in fading scrawl beneath]

                                                        To Khali – never stop dreaming JCM


~ ~ ~


“It was banned in many States” the Expert droned on. “Only the Moon-bases took it on but it was an ironic joke.” He smiled as if only he knew what that joke was. The girl frowned. “Marley was always odd, off the wall! Too much dark material for books aimed at young adults. And he sadly died, alone, poor, some decades ago. Still!” he concluded brightly, “it’s a wonderful thing to have. And how did you get it dear?”

The camera panned back to her face, wide brown eyes stared back and she swallowed down her shyness and said softly: “He gave it to me. He changed everything.”

My week, as it was {poetry, mumbling & video drafting}


Hi you lovely followers / welcome to anyone new 🙂

My ‘Indie Publishing posts’ have been scattered lately mainly because I don’t want to fluff by filling up space with repeats so they will be continuing from next week after a REFRESH.

And despite the chilly air, Autumn is a great time to refresh. The sun (when it’s around) is bright and warm, low down in the British sky and illuminating the simmering change of leaves from green to brown. I LOVE AUTUMN!

Summer gets too hot, Spring too wet and yes, Winter is nice but a bit cold…

Autumn is perfect: wrap up & walk weather.

And I ventured to my local park – I confess I drove there but I have a slightly annoying sore throat and the uphill climb would have done me in!

I wandered around, amidst dog-walkers and those just ‘out for the air’ as we Brits love to do. As I wandered (briskly walked!) I began turning over some poetry ideas in my head and inevitably these escaped, from my lips.

I talk to myself, ok?!

I consider it as rehearsing.

I plan to do performances in the coming months  ~ live and recorded so I need to speak out loud, check the cadence, the pauses, the volume. So if you see a well wrapped up woman (green coat) with short blonde hair chattering away to herself – it’s OK. It’s probably me and I am a poet.

🙂 It has been a poetry week too. Not only did we have Poetry Day but the lovely BBC have dedicated time to lots of poetry-based documentaries. I have been absorbed and held in snuggly blankets of poets.

I discovered those that I really should have already found but hey I know them now. I am a fan of discovery and there is no shame in being any writer and not knowing certain Authors, – the discovery of new talent, past artists or a single work you love – it’s an adventure. It is your adventure, not a standard Textbook version either (watch for my poem on this subject: Well Read – to be posted soon).

And I plan a mini trip over to Ted Hughes’ old grounds – it’s only a few miles away, so it would be rude not to. I am sure I will be inspired, after all, it’s YORKSHIRE and that is enough 😉

In the meantime I am planning video. I never expected to be a film-maker but it seems that to get noticed (if that’s what you want) a writer needs to push boundaries and I am not of the shouty-angry spittle variety so I am working on some subtle imagery.

  Hope to share some live footage soon!

Lizzie HW

My week, as it was / waiting & watching


Last week finished with a nice long wait.

It seems that we’ve lost the patience to wait, demanding things NOW and being able to find info on-line in seconds; ordering deliveries with a few clicks with many promises of ‘next day delivery!’.

I had made an order for an item of jewellery and I had to wait. It was being hand-made. So after 4 weeks: it was ready!

Stretching out the anticipation, I drove to the shopping centre but headed to other shops first and spent some time elsewhere. Even then – with the jewellers a few metres away – I walked on and went for lunch.

Another wait.

I sat alone and simply looked around. Most of my fellow diners (solo or not) occupied this brief waiting-time busily on their phones. But I just watched; them and other shoppers.

It was a pleasant feeling and reminded me of what we can gain from waiting.

It taps into our sense of being present now which is what ‘mindfulness’ tackles. And when my lunch arrived, I was happy.

I felt excited finally walking to collect my jewellery. There was no rush to grab it and go. I had a lovely cup of tea and chatted to the assistant. He told me about working on ships and serving famous people whilst I shared my own story about leaving a career for a passion (to write).

The whole experience was a joy. A quiet, calm joy.

  We should all embrace the waiting. Do more watching. Along the way you’ll find enjoyment in little things, appreciation for important things and maybe a little space & time to simply think.

I found inspiration in those moments. This blog post, of course but also ideas for poems/stories/characters – little snippets that I jotted down on the restaurant receipt.

So the waiting was worth it 🙂

And I aim to do more so it’s a NO to the box-sets – I will just be patient and hang-on for the next episode/series. So no spoilers please!

Oh for any followers of the British Bake Off, the final was a great show and x’#’.m deserved the win 😉

Lizzie HW

The Slice ~ it’s all about Queenie


This week is dedicated to one book.

Rachel Joyce’s  The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy

I'm sure there were 5 biscuits?

I’m sure there were 5 biscuits?

The blurb [paraphrased] says: “When Queenie Hennessy discovers Harold Fry is walking … to save her…all she must do is wait.”

It seems simple enough – waiting for the arrival of someone.

But Queenie has secrets and now she knows she must reveal all to the man she has not seen for many years.

As she begins her confessions, we learn her story and more of their story.


If you read the first novel by Rachel Joyce: The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry you will recall his desperation to reach her and make his own confession.

This is a follow-along book; set in the same time of Harold’s

journey but the reader is taken into the past to uncover long-hidden secrets of friendships.

You will be shaken. You will smile, laugh, cry and wonder at what makes people connect whilst others struggle to find their feet.

‘That’s the bugger with funerals’ said Finty. ‘All those nice people singing songs you like and saying stuff about how good you were and you’re not even there.’

I read this book in a few days whilst trying not to! But it overtook the very good read I had started and I swept through the tale.

At the end: I swore out loud…. Then burst into tears.

The book is also peppered with delightful illustrations by Andrew Davidson and they add a subtle charm to the overall reading experience.

If only they were in purple velvet!

If only they were in purple velvet!

Pure Delight!

Lizzie HW

a preview ~~ Killing the Rhino


an extract from the short story: Killing the Rhino

The knife scraped butter on toast. Jacob watched it melt, a river of fat seeped through the crispy bread. He lifted the thick slice and crunched into it. He ate slowly, tasting each mouthful – a tinge of salt, wheat and bran.

Once finished, he slurped tea from his mug, washing away crumbs. The mug was stained, chipped; the tea wouldn’t taste right in any other cups, certainly not the new china ones. Jacob looked through the window over the sink, across the dry patch where grass wouldn’t grow. The boundary of the kitchen-garden was a low gathering of uneven rocks and discarded wooden posts. It wasn’t maintained and in places had tumbled apart. Nothing had existed in the garden, not since Mary left.

He tipped the tea dregs down the drain and rinsed off the things he’d used under a running tap of tepid water. He placed the items on a tea-towel to dry off, in the heat, it wouldn’t take long.
Jacob always had breakfast, alone, in the kitchen, though he could hear faint clatterings of a breakfast gathering in the main dining room. He had no reason to join them.
He wanted a smoke. Most people wouldn’t take any form of tobacco any more. He had stopped once, or twice – when Mary had pestered him about the smell and the pools of ash – it wouldn’t be given up completely. He reached up to the top of the dresser and his fingers bent around the tin – hidden from little eyes.

Despite the rising heat, Jacob wore woollen trousers, a heavy cotton shirt and the waistcoat – all were faded from sun, wind and wear. His feet were covered in scuffed walking boots. He felt a shiver and rubbed a hand across his neck. He looked down at the hand and wondered when he had got so old.

He glanced down at the tiled floor and remembered: Mary – stood with a hand on a hip and another half-raised. The raised hand held a wooden ladle and she used it to point. She pointed at the floor, the tiles – earlier washed clean, now splattered with mud and leaves and dung. Afterwards – all boots had to be removed at the steps and a boot-rack had been installed. Mary liked things to be neat.

The main doors were both open and tourists milled about between the house, the steps and the forecourt.

The truck was packed up. Adje was ready to drive them away.

Jacob shut the doors and closed the house.


the full version will be available in the collection City of Animals out soon!

Lizzie HW